World Trade Organisation (WTO) director-general Pascal Lamy on Monday acknowledged the Geneva-based grouping has been a “disappointing” forum for trade liberalisation but placed the blame for moribund world trade talks on both China and the US.
The main obstacle to a Doha round agreement was a dispute between the US and China over how much to cut industrial tariffs for rich and developing countries, said Lamy. “If the US and China would agree on a compromise on industrial tariff problems, I would tell you the whole picture would change.”
It was clear a comprehensive agreement in the Doha round of world trade talks launched in 2001 “is out of reach in the short term”, said Lamy.
But it may still be possible for WTO members to make advances in some areas, such as expanding the 1996 Information Technology Agreement to eliminate duties on more high-tech trade and negotiating a new international services agreement among an interested set of WTO members, he said.